What Sustains You?
Over the next few weeks, I am going to write a few posts about things that have been helpful to me living through these strange times.
The first thing that I have found helpful is the scriptures. Especially the Psalms, like Psalm 46, 121, 90, 146. These Psalms have helped me pray when I have not had the words to pray on my own.
We have been going through Mark’s gospel for the past few months at church and I find the encounter with Jesus in the gospel to be helpful and comforting, too. Throughout Mark’s gospel there is a lack of recognition of Jesus and doubt about his power and authority. There is disappointment and skepticism, and ultimately he is abandoned on the cross. After he enters the fulness of human suffering, Jesus is raised on Easter. It has been good to be reminded that in, Jesus Christ, God turns toward the suffering of the world and the evil that humanity has wrought unafraid and without hesitation for us and for the salvation fo sinful people.
I have developed a discipline over the past several years of reading through the Bible every year. I have a 5-day reading plan that I found online and that I follow, so if you miss a day or two each week you don’t fall behind. Reading through the Bible again this year, I have been reminded that God has been with God’s people through a lot of stuff, and has remained faithful to them – through triumph, fear, suffering, national calamity, faithfulness, faithlessness, and even death. I have been reminded of something that I heard Fleming Rutledge say when I heard her speak several years ago about the Bible. She said (and this is an RB paraphrase!): the Bible is a story of human failure, where there are no human heroes. It is also, at its core, the story of a loving, faithful God who loves and saves people who fail. Thanks be to God for that!